Spring in Australia brings the onset of spring racing carnivals in Sydney and Melbourne with international visitors, including from Asian Racing Federation countries, preparing for the Victorian Spring Carnival over the coming weeks.
Two Japanese entries for the $3m, Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 17th, and the $6m, Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3rd, are the highly rated pair Fame Game (JPN) and Hokko Brave (JPN).
They are the first internationals scheduled to arrive in Melbourne on Saturday, September 19th, to take up residence at the Werribee Quarantine Centre.
Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, released the weights for the 138th Caulfield Cup which carries $3.15 million in prizemoney and trophies.
Current Caulfield Cup favourite Fame Game has been allocated 57kg as he attempts to deliver Japan back-to-back victories in the world’s richest 2400-metre handicap at Caulfield.
The Yoshitada Munakata trained six-year-old, runner-up in this year’s Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m) in his homeland, has been allotted 1kg less than Admire Rakti (JPN) carried when victorious in last year’s Cup.
Hong Kong-based Australian jockey Zac Purton, who rode Admire Rakti to Japan’s first Caulfield Cup victory, has been booked to ride Fame Game in this year’s renewal.
Fellow Japanese entrant Hokko Brave, who finished sixth in the Tenno Sho, has been allotted 55.5kg, with 2012 Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Craig Williams set to ride for trainer Yasutoshi Matsunaga.
“Five Japanese horses have contested the Caulfield Cup and three have finished in the first three placings including last year’s emphatic winner Admire Rakti. The Japanese are a strong force in world staying races and Fame Game and Hokko Brave both have exposed form at Group 1 level in Japan,” Carpenter said.
The two Japanese spring contenders are nominated for the Melbourne Cup along with 140 nominations for the race that attracts world-wide attention. This year there are entrants from the UK, Ireland, Germany, France as well as Japan.
Carpenter, said the quality of nominations was reflective of the global regard afforded to the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
“The Emirates Melbourne Cup is the world’s premier staying race and the quality of the local and international entries for this year’s race is outstanding,” Carpenter said.
“The depth amongst the international contingent is exceptional with the Ascot Gold Cup quinella, Hardwicke Stakes winner, Goodwood Cup trifecta, Lonsdale Cup winner and a pair of Japan’s elite stayers amongst 31 international entries,” he said.
Singapore will also be represented in Melbourne with the Michael Freedman trained Super One (AUS) due to join the plane load of European runners bound for Melbourne when it transits Singapore on September 26th.
The undefeated three-year-old colt is being aimed at the A$500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 31, with a possibility he may have an earlier lead-up run in the $400,000, Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.